Fifth Sunday of Easter

…My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: Jesus Christ is Risen!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  He is truly Risen!  Alleluia!  Alleluia! 

As you know, May brings to us in the Diocese of Norwich the Annual Bishop’s Appeal 2009.  Thanks to the generosity of many parishioners, to date we have received pledges and gifts totaling $15,234.50, about 50% of our designated parish 2009 ABA Goal of $29,900.00.  Every gift is important, no matter how large or small.  Thank you to all who have thus far made a gift in support of the 2009 ABA. 

Bishop Michael R. Cote, Bill Russell, our parish ABA Chairman and I urge all parishioners who have not yet made a gift to the Appeal, to do so today by completing an ABA envelope now (before or after Mass today) and place it into the collection basket at Offertory time, or mail it directly yourself to the ABA Office in Norwich. 

The needs of so many are being met through our Norwich Diocesan Ministries.  If we all do our part together as Catholics, we will be successful.  Please, fill out and return your gift to the ABA today.  Don’t delay!  Together, with your support, we can accomplish many beautiful works of faith, hope, and charity within the Diocese of Norwich.

Pope Benedict XVI is asking for prayers during his current trip this week to the Holy Land, saying that his historic pilgrimage seeks to promote dialogue, reconciliation and peace in a very troubled part of our world.  The Holy Father noted that he will be following in the footsteps of Paul VI and John Paul II, who also made journeys to the Holy Land.  The pope left Vatican City on Friday, May 8th and will return on May 15th to visit Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories.  “I will be a pilgrim of peace, in the name of the One God, Father of all,” the Holy Father said, “I will give witness to the Catholic Church’s commitment in favor of those who work to practice dialogue and reconciliation, notable ecumenical and interreligious significance. 

Jerusalem is, from this point of view, the symbolic city par excellence: there Christ died so as to reunite all of the children of God.”  Pope Benedict XVI is expected to deliver 29 discourses and homilies during his week in the Middle East.  He will also meet with civil authorities and representatives of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

Responding to reports of the rapid spread of swine flu, the U.S. Bishops remind Catholics to “cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.  Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.  Priests, Deacons, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should be especially reminded of the need to practice good hygiene by washing their hands directly before Mass or using an alcohol-based anti-bacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion.  They should instruct people who feel ill NOT to receive from the cup.”

Today, we crown the outdoor statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Mother’s Day 2009.  May the Blessed Mother grant us health and maternal protection in this month of May.  A very happy Mother’s Day to all our moms.  We love you!

                                                                   Blessings upon your Easter Season days! 
                                                Father Jim 

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